The strategy of SANCOLD is to be inclusive and widely embracing of stakeholders in the dam industry. Dam owners, operators, institutions, professional companies and individuals (professionals and private dam owners), all with an active interest in dams, are invited to become members. Further details are provided on the membership page. The South African National Committee on Large Dams (SANCOLD) has revised its Constitution.

ICOLD promotes the sustainable development of dams through technical excellence. However, more emphasis is now being placed on social and environmental issues. While the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has incorporated a wide range of disciplines into the planning of dams over a number of years these have been emphasised in the November 2000 World Commission on Dams (WCD) report

Clearly the development process has changed in that it is not only engineers that are involved. Many other disciplines such as natural scientists, environmentalists and social scientists now play important roles. Projects have become more complicated and take much longer from inception to implementation.

SANCOLD is a vehicle bringing the various groups, involved in all projects concerning dams and water resources, closer together. SANCOLD represents South Africa on ICOLD and endeavours to give guidance on achieving sustainable development to the dam owner and the individual, whether they are engineers, scientists, environmentalists or social scientists involved in the many facets of dams.

The organisation recognises that fewer new dams will be constructed in South Africa and that the emphasis will shift to operations, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.

SANCOLD supports and promotes development through the use of Best Practice in dam development both in South Africa and in Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African states in support of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative. SADC countries will be invited to have observer status on SANCOLD and to its events.


SANCOLD carries out the following activities:

  • Promote the use of Best Practice;
  • Advance the technology of dam engineering, construction, operation, maintenance and safety;
  • Examine contemporary dam issues such as environmental impacts, social aspects and dam safety;
  • Contribute to ICOLD publication through participation on ICOLD committees;
  • Arrange local seminars, site visits and courses and participate in international seminars on dams;
  • Fund scholarships for postgraduate study in dam related subjects;
  • Collect and disseminate information on dams;
  • Provide technology transfer to practising professionals;
  • Provide advice and promote support for the use of Best Practice in dam development throughout SADC and other African states both directly and via the African Regional Club(ARC) of ICOLD
  • Promote public awareness of the role of dams in the beneficial and substantial development of South Africa’s water resources.